We at ShortPixel know that there are some good WordPress image optimization plugins out there. We are constantly keeping an eye on them. Are they better, do they have more features than us, are they more affordable?
Note: EWWW can work on user server for free, but we are testing here the EWWW I.O. version which optimizes the images in cloud, like the rest of the analyzed plugins.
WordPress Image Optimization Plugins,
A new user POV analysis
Each of these WordPress plugins has its own vision in terms of pricing, features and design. The comparison is possible only if we set some limits. To simplify the process we decided to do this plugins comparison from a new user perspective, which means:
– We are testing the plugins using their default settings.
– Image compression is done with the credits and features included in their free plans.
– The plugins should offer lossy optimization, even if their authors chose lossless compression as the default compression method.
Table of Contents
1. FEATURES COMPARISON.
a. Online compression tools.
b. Free plans: gifts and limitations.
c. Basic image optimization features.
d. Safe and secure testing features.
e. Plugins flexibility.
f. Image processing options.
g. Special features.
2. IMAGE IMPROVEMENT.
a. Image compression.
b. Picture quality.
3. PAID IMAGE OPTIMIZATION PLANS.
a. Monthly plans.
b. One-time plans.
(Conclusion, disclaimer, image credits.)
1. Features comparison
a. Online Image Compressors
Wouldn’t be nice to be able to see how the compressed images look before going to WP dashboard and install the plugins? Four of the tested plugins also have online image compressors:
We couldn’t find online image compression tools from Smush, Optimus, EWWW. ^
b. Free plans: gifts and limitations
|Free Quota||Same features|
as for paid plans
|No file size limit|
|ShortPixel||100 free credits/month||YES||YES|
|YES||Max 2 MB|
|EWWW||500 free credits||YES||YES|
|TinyPNG||500 free credits||YES||YES|
|Kraken||100 MB||No||Max 1 MB|
|Smush||Unlimited||NO||Max 1 MB|
|Optimus||Unlimited||NO||Max 100 kB|
c. Basic image optimization features
Let’s start with the basic image optimization functions: image formats, optimization modes, bulk processing, backup and restore functions.
– PRO means that the feature is available only for paid plans.
– NO means that we didn’t find that feature in the plugin settings or on the plugin website.
|Optimus||NO||YES||YES||NO||JPEG & PNG|
|TinyPNG||YES||NO||YES||NO||JPEG & PNG|
* “Super-Smush lossy compression” available only for the Pro accounts.
Smush optimizes only 50 images at once with a free account.
** Kraken allows you to select multiple files in Media Library and optimize them, but this is not a full Bulk feature. Users cannot click a button and have all their images optimized.
Optimus didn’t pass the lossy optimization criteria. Lossless compression is the only option even for the paid plans. Optimus has affordable packages, and if the lossless optimization is enough for you, then you could check its website for more info about features and prices.
Smush has lossy optimization, but you could test it only if you take the WPMU DEV trial. Moreover, Smush free version doesn’t optimize the original image, only the thumbnails.^
d. Safe & Secure plugin testing
We saw how each plugin can handle the basic tasks of imagine optimization, but new users would like to know that testing these image optimization plugins is safe and they could restore the original images if they are not pleased with the results.
* The backup function is available for 30 days.^
e. Image Optimization Plugins Flexibility
Every WordPress developer knows that each installation has its own particularities. Some may need a multisite, others would like to use the same API key for multiple domains. And there are also WP sites which have images stored in other folders than Media Library.
Each plugin can automatically optimize images on upload.^
f. Image processing options
What does each plugin give you in terms of image processing?
|CMYK to RGB |
PNG to JPEG
g. Special features
Special features which give the particular “flavor” of each tested plugin.
|Lossy for |
2. Image improvement
The second part includes an image compression comparison in terms of size improvement and quality. If you are he kind of guy that likes to check the details for himself go ahead and download the archive.
Smush free plan doesn’t optimize the original images. We could, and we will do, compare the WP thumbnails compression from each plugin, but not now. Smush has one of the most beautiful WP plugin interfaces, but it is a pity that it doesn’t give users easy ways to test its lossy compression.
a. Image compression
You can download all images used and produced by our test here. We tested three JPEG images (large, medium, small) and one PNG image:
|Original||2641.4 kB||160.7 kB||5.6 kB||126.3 kB
* Imagify max file size is 2 MB.
Please note that EWWW default optimization method for JPEG is lossless. Changing to lossy will produce smaller images.^
b. Picture quality
Producing images that are heavily optimized and still look good is paramount. Have a look below and see how images are compressed by each plugin.
Imagify doesn’t optimize this image because it’s over 2 MB, the max file size allowed with Imagify free plans. Let’s see how the rest of the plugins optimized this image.
Here are 100% cropped examples:
– Remember that EWWW default JPEG optimization method is lossless.
The optimized images are cropped at 200px width so you could see them side by side.
(full sized images)
(200px x 150px cropped images)
Size: 126.3 kB
While all images look good visually, ShortPixel usually reduces the image size the most. Your final decision could also depend on the features you need, and on the price you pay for optimization.^
3. Paid image optimization plans
For the most of WordPress users, free accounts are enough for their monthly image optimization needs, but there are some heavy players which have a lot of images. These users buy image optimization credits, and here is what they can get for their money.^
a. Monthly plans
Monthly plans measured by the number of optimized images.
TinyPNG and EWWW don’t have monthly plans, they charge instead by the number of processed images. This is a good thing when you want flexibility. But how much does it cost to compress the same number of images as the 3 ShortPixel monthly plans if you use TinyPNG or EWWW?
|Monthly Quota||5000 images||12000 images||55000 images|
|Monthly Quota*||5000 images||12000 images||55000 images|
|Monthly Quota**||5000 images||12000 images||55000 images|
* EWWW – “1 – 1,000,000 images – $0.003 per image”
** TinyPNG – “First 500 images per month are free. Next 9 500 images per month, $0.009 per image. After 10 000 images per month, $0.002 per image.”
Monthly plans measured by the total size of optimized images.
|Monthly Quota*||500 MB||2 GB||5 GB||15 GB||60 GB|
|*per additional GB ||$1.00||$2.00||$3.00||$4.00||$5.00|
WPMU DEV bundle
Smush has a very different pricing strategy. You need to purchase the entire WPMU DEV plugins bundle even if you only need Smush PRO. The monthly price is $49.00 for the entire package, and it has an unlimited monthly quota.^
b. One-time plans
When you don’t know your monthly image optimization needs or when you have a lot of old, unoptimized images, then the one-time plans are the best option.
|ShortPixel Prices||ShortPixel Plans||Imagify Prices||Imagify Plans||EWWW Prices||EWWW Plans|
|$99 ||170,000 |
ShortPixel and Imagify are the best image optimization plugins, but we believe that ShortPixel has better paid plans and it is tailored for more user cases. For example, you can optimize 3 MB images with ShortPixel, but Imagify doesn’t allow you to do this with its free plan.
EWWW is also a good choice, and you could sense the passion of its creator. The main advantage of EWWW plugin is also its biggest weakness: too many settings. Of course, this observation is highly subjective, but we believe that an image optimization plugin shouldn’t force users make a lot of technical decisions.
As WordPress popularity is rising, many WordPress users are looking for the best image optimization solution for their needs. We hope that this guide will help you make a decision.
Comparison Methodology notes
“Comparing apples to apples” standard is hard to achieve when you have such different products. Each of these WordPress plugins has its own vision in terms of pricing, features, and design. The comparison is possible only if we set some limits. This is the hardest choice: what do we compare, and what should we leave for the future articles.
We made this the image optimization WP plugins comparison from a new user perspective.
He/She goes to WP dashboard – Plugins section, and searches for “image optimization”. After signing-up for a free plan at one or more plugins, the new user optimizes some images to see how they look and what is the size improvement. Finally, if he/she is pleased with the results and needs more image optimization credits, then a purchase will come.
As we told you at the beginning, we believe that three things are important in this user case:
– using the default setting.
– using the free plans.
– looking to have both lossy and lossless compression.
Why default settings?
Playing with software settings can be fun, but a tool should be ready to optimally work right after it is started. After all, these tools are called plugins 🙂
Why free plans?
When you have to choose from several services, try before you buy principle makes the decision a bit easier. Free accounts are also important because that’s the WordPress spirit, we help each other, not just for the money.
Why both lossy and lossless?
Lossy and lossless is a personal preference, but we believe that any image optimization plugin should let users choose how they compress their pictures. Web standards have changed in the last years, and lossless method became less popular. This trend is more obvious from the end of 2016 when Google PageSpeed Insights started to recommend lossy optimization instead of lossless.
The smartphones are now production tools. Uploading images directly from the phone camera will be, if it isn’t already, the way to work for the most bloggers.
Images used for this test
PNG format is less popular than JPEG, being used mainly for screenshots and images containing text. That’s why we tested three JPEG images, but only one image.
PNG-1 test-1.png It is a screenshot of ShortPixel Bulk processor.
The images were previously resized, so we could test images having variate dimensions.
Image: https://unsplash.com/new?photo=mqwcNlWf3II (Resized 2%)
Image: https://unsplash.com/?photo=of0pMsWApZE (Resized 10%)
https://unsplash.com/photos/Zjgt71k6o4A (Resized 50%)
We read and compared all plugins settings menus and websites, but it is possible that we missed something or we got something wrong. If this is the case please let us know and we will be more than happy to correct any errors.